FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - He says he's not a hero, but military officials at Fort Benning begged to differ on Thursday.
"I just happened to be at the right place at an unfortunate time," said First Lieutenant James Lamoreaux.
Despite Lamoreaux's humble attitude, the story of how he saved two children drowning in the Chattahoochee River in March 2014 gained attention from the soldier's chain of command, making its way up to the Secretary of the Army.
"He's always been my hero," said his wife Shannon, even though hero is a word Lamoreaux denies.
"As uncomfortable as he may be with that word, I mean that's what it is... a hero, it's a heroic action" said LTC. Fred Tanner.
Lamoreux's award details how he risked his life, plunging into icy and aggressive waters of the Chattahoochee River to save two young boys, swimming more than 300 meters into rushing rapids before pulling them to safety.
"I believe that was probably the first time I ever walked along side the RiverWalk," Lamoreaux said, "Part of it was Army training and part of it was just common sense, you know if you see someone in need you want to go rescue them."
Military leaders at the Thursday ceremony say they hope all soldiers will follow in First Lieutenant Lamoreux's footsteps, showing bravery and courage even when no one is demanding it of them.
"Greatness is not when people are watching you. Greatness occurs when an opportunity arises and you have to live the Army values 24/7," said Brigadier General Peter L. Jones.